Archives for Home Maintenance

Bang For Your Buck: Renos That Will Increase Your Home’s Value

If you are a homeowner, you’ve probably spent money on your property over and above the regular carrying costs.  Investing in your  property has the obvious benefits of making your home nicer to live in, but smart renovations can also have the side benefit of increasing a home’s value when it comes time to sell. Below is a list of some of the home renovations that have been shown to add the most to a home’s value, as well as some renovations to avoid. Flooring Flooring can be a costly renovation, but can also add to a home’s value if it is done properly. Generally speaking, wall-to-wall carpeting is not as desirable as it once was, and some potential buyers may even see it as a nuisance that they will have to replace. Hardwood floors, and tiled floors for bathrooms, on the other hand are in higher demand and are likely to increase your home’s value. A particularly easy way to do this is to refinish existing hardwood floors, getting the benefit at a much lower cost than installing new ones. Fixtures Fixtures are a bit more complicated when it comes to improving the value of your home. Generally speaking, installing new fixtures will improve your home’s value up to a certain point. It is worth adding in new fixtures or updating old ones that improve the function and look of a room, especially the bathroom and kitchen, like new faucets and light fixtures. However, spending extra money on high-end fixtures and appliances will likely end up costing you more money in the long run, since they may not match a potential buyer’s plans. High-end upgrades don’t generally increase a home’s value if they are inconsistent with the rest of the home, and specific high-end features like media rooms or swimming pools rarely make back their cost. Kitchens and Bathrooms The kitchen and bathrooms are some of the most important rooms in a house in terms of value, and are worth paying attention to when it comes time to renovate. Renovations to these rooms often add to the home’s value, as long as they are functional and not purely decorative improvements, and adding a bathroom to a home can increase the value substantially. When aiming to improve a home’s value, the kitchen and bathrooms should be one of the first places to look. Updating fixtures, replacing older plumbing and making everything look clean and functional are good steps to a more valuable home. Income Suites & Coach Houses The single greatest improvement you can make to your home’s value will be through the addition of an income suite or a coach house. By converting a basement into a rental unit or adding a coach house, you can bring in supplemental income while you are still living in your house. An income suite is also a valuable thing when it comes time to sell, since it is a wise investment for potential homebuyers as well. Of course it’s vital that an

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Fall. Arguably one of the most beautiful times of the year! The weather has cooled and the leaves have begun to change, reminding us that winter isn’t all that far away. Before the snow flies, our homes need a little TLC in order to ensure our warmth and safety over the months – yes, months – of winter. We’ve prepared a few tips on where to begin and what to include in your home maintenance checklist for the fall: Inspect and clean out your eaves trough. In order to ensure a smooth and safe flow of water away from your home’s exterior and foundation walls,  you’ll need to keep up with the maintenance of your gutters. So, before the leaves fly this fall, have your gutters cleaned, then covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning. Check the quality of your roof. Those of us who have lived in the Ottawa area for a number of years know that our winters are no walk in the park. We get a lot of snow, heavy winds and even heavier ice build-up. If you set aside some time before the cold snap to inspect your roof from top to bottom – checking for cracked and/or damaged shingles etc. – you’ll avoid such issues as a leaky roof over the winter. Give your furnace a checkup. This is very important to do on an annual basis (especially before the depth of winter hits). This includes making sure that its overall performance is up to par, its filter is clean, and its thermostat works accurately. If you use a snow blower, have it serviced.  If you are considering hiring a snow removal company now is a good time do your research.  Talk to your neighbours and ask for recommendations, read online reviews and contact the snow removal companies on your short list to ensure they meet your expectations.  While price is always a consideration, reliability is especially important when it comes to those heavy snowfalls. Unless you’re one of those hardcore grill-masters, accept the end of BBQ season. Don’t forget to cover yours up or store it away, clean its grills and burners, and disconnect the tank keeping it in a safe place. Seal gaps where mice and other critters could enter. We all love nature but let’s keep the wildlife outdoors! Mice only need the tiniest gap to sneak into your house.  With colder weather coming, they are looking for warm and lovely places (like your home!) to nest.  Fill small holes and cover any larger gaps securely.   If you aren’t sure which materials to use, check with your local hardware or home improvement store for advice on what will work best for the job. Add weatherstripping around your windows and door frames.  While many newer homes may not need this, if you have ever lived in an older home, weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors can make a big difference in helping to keep the cold out and

Winter: Time to keep the heat IN, and your costs DOWN

As winter begins to cover the ground with snow, we Canadians are aware, there’s much more coming our way than just a light dusting. Shoveling snow, spreading salt, and digging out your frozen car, are just some of the “joys” winter may bring to you this season. As the costs of heat and electricity continue to rise, Jack Frost will be nipping at your pocketbook, wanting to extend his winter chills to the interior of your home. If you’re hoping to keep the cold outside, and your heating costs down, the best thing for you to do is to get your home “Winter Ready”. Here are some simply ways to winterize your home: Clean out your gutters Ensure the rain and snow have somewhere to drain to by cleaning your gutters. This will minimize the chance of leaks, and remove excess weight/strain from the gutters. Making sure that the water can freely flow through your gutters now, will stop the formation of icicles and ice-build up later. Reseal your windows Whether you’re purchasing window insulation kits, or redoing the caulk seals, ensuring you minimize the drafts entering the house through your windows will make it easier for the heat to stay in your house. Drafts can sneak in through any improper seal, so be sure to check your need for draft guards, new seals, and even weather-stripping doors as needed. Blocking drafts that may come from improperly sealed doors, windows, and fireplaces can stop up to 70% of your heat and energy from escaping through improper seals – keeping the warm air in, and the cold air out! Store Patio Furniture Extend the life of your patio furniture/BBQ by protecting these items from the elements and storing them indoors this winter. Clean the garage Cleaning up your garage will give you an opportunity for indoor parking. No more scraping ice from the windshields and trying to unbury your car after a snow fall. Parking your vehicle indoors will both keep the vehicle protected, and give you less to do before work in the morning. Fireplace Preparations If you have a fireplace in your house that you plan on using quite frequently this winter, get your chimney/fireplace inspected to ensure that it is safe and clear to use. If your home has a fireplace that you’re not planning on using, block the fireplace with window sealer/insulation kits to help minimize the escaping heat. For more tips on winterizing your fireplace, check here to see what’s important when checking your fireplace before the season. Hoses/Outdoor Water To avoid a messy springtime of sorting through hoses for ones that haven’t cracked, drain the water from your outdoor hoses, and store them indoors for the winter. Turn off any outdoor water taps to avoid freezing Insulate Pipes Pipe insulation kits can be used to keep the water pipes in your home from freezing. Find out everything you need to know about winterizing pipes here. Furnace Preparations If your home’s main heat source is a

Winterizing Your Home

It seems like only yesterday that we were out enjoying the great (warm) outdoors at our cottages, lakes and so on. The days were sunny, the evenings were cool; we’d admire the gradual change in scenery as each tree in sight became more and more vibrant with time. And then without warning, as it does every year, it just hits us: winter. We feel it coming, we know it’ll be here in a quick blink of an eye, but it still somehow manages to sneak up on us. We ask ourselves if we’re even ready for winter, if we can prepare for it in such little time, and so on (if only we could just call a seasonal time-out!). The good news, however, is that we won’t need to. Getting ready for winter isn’t as complex and bone-chilling as it may seem. In fact, here are a few things you can do in order to protect and prepare your home for the winter:     Make sure your furnace is either replaced or cleaned: It’s advised that you change your furnace filter at least once a month during the winter months to avoid resistance of airflow. If, by chance, you feel this step may occasionally slip your mind month-to-month, try adding a recurring reminder on your phone or in your calendar. It works! You can also try “switching to a permanent filter, which will reduce waste and hassle”. Perhaps consider upgrading to a furnace that’s considered to be more efficient – it’ll save you even more money year after year.   Turn down your water heater: Most water heaters are automatically set to about 140 degrees Fahrenheit by installers upon placement into your home. In actuality, however, most of us don’t particularly need that high of heat, nor do we need that much steam. Avoid paying for an excess amount of heat by turning your water heater down to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Fact: doing so will reduce your water heating costs by 6 to 10%. You can also consider insulating your water pipes in order to avoid them from freezing during our colder months.   Install storm doors and/or windows: This is a simple (albeit maybe a pain for some) task that can increase energy efficiency by 45%. How? “By sealing drafts and reducing air flow”. This said, an installation such as this will be well worth the work.   Seal your air ducts: It pays to have a technician come into your home and assess your ductwork. He/she will test your system and fix any problems accordingly. Did you know that, according to studies, “10 to 30% of heated (or cooled) air in an average system escapes from ducts”? Protect your home from mold and dust this winter, and save a few dollars too!   For more information, follow this link. It’ll give you even more advice (and an extension of the aforementioned tidbits posted above!) on how you and your family can prepare your home for when

Winterizing Your Yard

Winterizing your home for the cold snap is one thing; winterizing your yard, however, is another. And as much as most of us would like to avoid prepping our yards for the inevitable cold that is to come, it’s something that’s simply unavoidable – especially if we’re looking to save both time and energy when spring and summer rolls around next year. Rest assured, however, winterizing your yard is not as complex as most of us may think it is, in fact, it’s actually quite simple.   We’ve provided a list of ways below that will help you and your family maintain the quality of your yard, regardless of how cold it gets this winter:   Move your hoses into a shed or a garage: It’s advised that we unhook and empty out all the water in our hoses and store them in a warmer place (for example, in your shed or in your garage). You certainly don’t want to leave your hose out in the cold as they can “suffer from [the cold’s] exposure” – a common misconception that can lead to us having to replace them more frequently.   Take care of your BBQ and its grills: If you have either of these installed in your backyard, make sure that you move them indoors before winter hits. A garage, storage shed, or storage unit works great for your BBQ when they’re not in use. Keep in mind that your propane tanks stay outdoors – we wouldn’t want you putting your home and your family in danger!   Tear down your lawn furniture and its accessories: Sturdier lawn furniture (wrought iron, for example) can be left covered outdoors over the winter months. If, however, your furniture set is less sturdy and/or plastic, it might be a good idea to bring it indoors – cushions too! A helpful hint: give your set a good cleaning before putting it away, it’ll save you some hassle come spring/summer.   Prepare your swimming pool: “Winterizing your swimming pool protects it from damage due to the water freezing and keeps it clean for the next swimming season”. You’ll want to check the water chemistry, the alkalinity, the calcium hardness, and the chlorine levels in addition to covering your pool to avoid winter “debris”.   To read an extended version of this article, follow this link and learn more. All elements in/of your backyard should be given the proper care and attention they deserve before the cold snap of winter falls upon us. Follow these tips, make a check list – anything that will help you and your family prepare and preserve your backyard for the winter season.   The post Winterizing Your Yard appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Housing Trends We are Seeing in the Canadian Real Estate Market

The Canadian housing market is already in the news, thanks to the recent collaboration of Vancouver residents to form the #DontHave1Million campaign that went viral. This Twitter campaign was in response to the recent reports that the average home in Vancouver will set you back $1.27 million, which is more than double the average price of a home throughout the rest of the Canadian market. And, at the rate things are going, this trend shows no sign of slowing down.  With this in mind, let’s see the other nine trends in the Canadian housing market to keep in mind in 2017. More Foreign Investors In addition to the booming Vancouver market, the booming market in Toronto is such that, while it may not be affordable for the average buyers, it’s certainly affordable for foreign investors. Housing Shortages.  Similar to the housing bust in the United States in 2008, the housing bust in Canada came as a result of predatory mortgage practices. Thus, there are more people that want to buy houses than there are houses available. Some Areas in Canada Are Experiencing a Boom — Especially Ottawa! Yes, Toronto and Vancouver are ridiculously expensive, but many other areas of Canada have seen a price decrease over the past year, and this trend will continue into 2017. In addition, Ottawa is experiencing a record high in terms of growth — almost 2000 sales of homes & condos took place in the month of June alone, and the number of sales promise to steadily increase into 2017. Downsizing As the so-called baby boomers move toward retirement, they’re no longer interested in owning huge homes with sizable mortgages. Therefore, they’re more likely to sell their family home and rent a small apartment or townhouse. City Exodus The combination of the housing shortage and the staggeringly high prices means that people are moving out of the city and into the suburbs. Senior or Assisted Living Housing There will be an increased demand in assisted living housing as baby boomers retire. Banks Will Be Less Likely to Lend Money After the mortgage crisis of 2008, banks are less likely to give loans, even to seemingly well-qualified applicants. Like what you see? Subscribe to our Blog. [/mp_row_inn] The post Housing Trends We are Seeing in the Canadian Real Estate Market appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Why Homeowners Should Beware of Icicles

  Ottawa’s freeze-thaw weather patterns often create sparkling icicles that look magical. But, they actually identify a dangerous — and potentially costly — hazard, an ice dam. Imagine coming home from work to find water streaming down your interior walls and soaking into the hardwood of your foyer. What would you do?   What Is An Ice Dam   After frantically tracing the flow, you would find that a pool of water had formed behind a thick ridge of ice in the gutters – hence the term ice dam. Snow on the roof had been melted by heat loss, causing water to collect behind the dam. And, the water was seeping through the shingles and into the house exposing it to significant potential damages.   After calling three roofing companies and getting no answer, you climb up a ladder to the second level, stand on a stool at a precarious angle, hold the gutter for support with one hand and use the other to smash the ice with a hammer. Eventually, you clear the dam but not before almost sliding off the roof … twice.   How To Remove An Ice Dam   Luckily, in this hypothetical case, there was only minor water damage, but the do-it-yourself approach was very risky and you did bend the gutter. Homeowners experiencing the effects of an ice dam — or those worried about a leak — should hire a professional roofing company to remove any ice buildup and assess for further preventive measures.   Safe removal of snow and ice should be accomplished by qualified technicians, who are fully trained in fall-arrest prevention, use the appropriate safety gear and equipment and have full insurance coverage. Instead of using hammers, chisels and salt, they will steam away the ice and remove excess snow with rakes designed for the purpose.   How To Avoid Ice Dams   To prevent ice dams, you must keep heat from reaching the roof, so the snow won’t melt in the first place. That goal is accomplished by insulating and ventilating the attic space to maintain the roof surface at, or near, outdoor temperatures. Any breach into the attic from the heated living space needs to be insulated. For homes with finished attics, this may involve opening up the ceiling.   Periodically check your roof for snow coverage because the snow’s weight alone, which should not exceed 20 to 25 lbs/sq ft, can cause damage. Depending on moisture content, snow weighs about 1.25 lbs/sq ft for each inch of depth, so 20 inches is a considerable burden. And, if you see icicles, investigate further. Professional roofers can provide accurate measurements, remediation or maintenance on a scheduled or as-needed basis. The post Why Homeowners Should Beware of Icicles appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Time To Get Out The Spring Maintenance Checklist

  In Ottawa, there are two sights that remind homeowners it’s time for spring maintenance: bikes on the road and geese in the sky. With the recent double-digit temperatures, it seems spring has won its annual wrestling match with winter. And, as spring fever sets in, you may want to store your parka and get at those spring maintenance chores. A great place to start is making sure the melting snow and runoff flows freely off your roof and away from your home instead of seeping in or collecting at the foundation. Improper drainage can cause problems like foundation flooding, soil erosion, water in the basement or leaks in the attic crawl space. Water damage is an expensive nightmare every homeowner wants to avoid. Here are some tips to take advantage of the weather and get a head start on spring. The Roof System A record-breaking snowfall dropped over 50 cm one February day, so Ottawa homeowners are well advised to perform a roof inspection in case the sheer weight of the snow caused damage. Depending on moisture content, snow weighs about 1.25 lbs/sq ft for each inch of depth, so 50 cm is a heavy load. Avoid a dangerous climb and use binoculars to survey the roof. Identify damaged shingles, soffits, fascia and flashing. If the roof is metal, check for corrosion. Inside the house, check the attic and roof deck for any structural deformations. Examine walls and ceilings for water stains or cracks. Nature can leave more garbage in spring than in fall, so gutter cleaning is high priority. Clear all debris from eaves troughs and downspouts. Check for water stains, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains can mean that your gutters are not containing the roof runoff and they should be repaired or replaced. Make sure downspouts drain away from your home’s foundation. If necessary, add extensions to carry water at least 3 to 4 feet away. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones for signs of water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence which indicates groundwater is “wicking” into the masonry and it could need replacement. The Foundation Unblock the drainage paths around your home so the snow melt flows away from your foundation. Open access to sewer drains that are on the street in front of your property. Check inside the basement, inspecting the walls for evidence of a leaking foundation.  If your home is on a slope, you may need to install a sump pump or an exterior drain pipe leading away from the foundation. Smooth low areas in the yard or near the foundation with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and costly damages. Also, when water collects in these depressions in summer, it creates a perfect breeding ground for insects. Although winter may still rear its blustery head, you’ll be happy you switched to spring fever mode and started the chores.   The post Time To

Packing Tips for a Clever Move

Moving soon? What to do? How to do it? Here are a few packing tips to help in my article from the magazine Power2DoIt – Just click on the link below for more! Packing Tips for a clever move

Buying a home and planning on moving sooner than later?

Buying a home that is not your forever home but perfect for now! Read my article in Power2DoIt by clicking on the link below for some valuable tips on how to proceed for a profitable investment. Buying a Home and Planning on Moving Sooner than Later